by Michael Leonard
Austintown -- Having won the Division I sectional tournament at Austintown Fitch last year, Hudson head wrestling coach Joe Caniglia said he raised his expectations for his team.
Caniglia made it clear those expectations were not being met heading into the finals.
"I'm not happy at all with how we've wrestled," Caniglia said.
Mind you, the Explorers didn't have a horrible tournament.
They finished fourth Feb. 15 with 135.5 points, one point behind Fitch for third.
Aurora won the 12-team team title with 200.5 points. Solon took second with 188.5 points.
More importantly, Hudson advanced seven wrestlers to the Division I Mentor district tournament. The top four placers in each weight class advanced to districts.
So what was the problem? All but one of the Explorers' qualifiers came via the consolation bracket.
"I don't know if we'd be able to turn a lot of those third places in firsts, but you've got to be able to get to the finals," Caniglia said.
One wrestler who did live up to expectations was senior Michael Coleman, who claimed Hudson's lone championship at 160 pounds.
Coleman breezed to the title, pinning Boardman's Tyler Dempster in 45 seconds, dominating Chagrin Falls Kenston's Sam Gambatese 14-0 and pinning Stow-Munroe Falls' Hunter Massey in 44 seconds.
Caniglia said his All-Ohio senior is right where he should be.
"He has great mat management," he said. "He just works at scoring his points when the opportunity is there. He never panics."
The Explorers ended up with three third-place finishers and three fourths.
At 126 pounds, Ben Boysel was given the top seed, but lost 6-4 in the semifinals to Solon's Grant Nemeckay.
Boysel rebounded with a 6-2 win over Fitch's Dylan Green and a 2-1 win over Walsh Jesuit's Spencer Haught to take third.
At 132 pounds, Chris Motter also took third, beating Chardon's Mike Connick 7-2 in the third-place match.
Also taking third place was Ben Krizman (182). After getting pinned in his first match, Krizman rebounded with four straight wins in the consolation bracket.
He pinned Aurora's Angus Nietert in 2:18 in the third-place match.
Taking fourth place for Hudson were Billy Buehl (138), Matt Slater (220) and Dylan Carlson (heavyweight).
Hudson also got a fifth-place finish from Michael Delsanter (195). Delsanter will serve as an alternate at districts.
While he wasn't satisfied with the places at sectionals, Caniglia said he knew anything could happen at districts.
"It's going to be tough, that's for sure," Caniglia said. "I've seen kids that have won here not get through districts and I've seen kids who have taken fourth get to states."
Up next for Hudson is "The Mentor Meatgrinder."
The Division I district tournament at Mentor is scheduled to take place Feb. 21 and 22, with the top four placers in each weight class heading to states.
First match Feb. 21 is set for 5 p.m. The tournament resumes Feb. 22 at 9 a.m.